Saturday, 15 February 2020

The Australian Sentinel

Nations with no prior tank building experience first began building tanks in WWII, including several nations from the British Commonwealth. Most frequently, these nations built copies of British designs, for instance the Canadian Valentines. However, Canada also built its own original tank (the Ram) on an American chassis. Australia developed and began production of fully original tanks named AC (Australian Cruiser) or Sentinel. These tanks did not see battle, but they remain a colourful chapter of world tank building history.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

BS-3 Sights

"1st Ukrainian Front
Directorate of Artillery
December 20th, 1944

The commander of the 10th Guards Artillery Tank Destroyer Brigade reports that when firing HE grenades from the 100 mm gun at a 1.5 by 1.5 meter target installed at a range of 1200 to 1800 meters using a sight configured as in the manual, the shell passes above the target. A reduction in 2-4 mils gives excellent results (hit on first shot). 

The Commander of Artillery of the Front orders that:
  1. Check the correctness of these conclusions by performing practical firing trials with the 100 mm gun. If similar results are achieved, fire at these ranges with the reduced sight setting.
  2. Report the results of practical firing trials and deviation from the sight tables when striking a vertical target.
Chief of Staff of Artillery of the 1st Ukrainian Front, Colonel Murzin
Deputy Chief of Staff of Artillery of the 1st Ukrainian Front, Guards Lieutenant Colonel Skrobov"

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Katyusha Effectiveness


Enemy soldiers on our artillery and mortars (based on interrogations of POWs, journals and letters of German and Hungarian troops)

POW Unteroffizier Franz Georg Lamus (222nd Infantry Regiment, 1st battalion, 4th company) says the following on the power of Russian weapons:

"Russia has many weapons. There are powerful airplanes. This goes against the stories were were told that the Red Army is poor and has nothing. The Stalinorgel (Katyusha) has the greatest effect on troops. When the mortar fires 42 shots everything living in the vicinity of the explosions burns. The sound of the explosions also has a negative effect on the morale of troops."

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

T-34M Requirements

"To the Chief of the Red Army GABTU, Lieutenant General of the Tank Forces, comrade Ya.N. Fedorenko
December 30th, 1940

Copy: to the Chairman of the Committee of Defense of the Council of Commissars of the USSR, Marshal of the Soviet Union, comrade Voroshilov

In carrying out order #428 of the Committee of Defense issued on November 19th, 1940, I present the reasons for switching to a torsion bar suspension. The coil spring suspension of the T-34 tank is reliable, but has the following drawbacks:
  1. Significant oscillations make firing on the move difficult.
  2. The suspension spring and guide rod shafts constrict the internal space of the tank, impede free placement of components, and reduce the amount of ammunition that can be carried.
  3. Cutouts must be made in the sides of the tank for the suspension arms that weaken the resistance of the armour.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Sights Trials

"April 4th, 1941

Report on the trials of a PT-4 periscopic tank sight

Trials were conducted according to directive #145211/s of the Main Automotive and Armoured Vehicle Directorate of the Red Army issued on March 22nd, 1941, by commission #6833 composed of:
  • Chairman: deputy commander of military unit 6837 Major T.G. Kuznetsov
  • Members:
    • Deputy chief of artillery supply of unit 6833 Sr. Lieutenant Burkov
    • Chief of ammunition supply of unit 6837 Lieutenant Kochegarov
  • Also present:
    • GABTU military engineer 3rd class G.M. Margulis
    • GAU assistant military representative Major L.D. Podgoretskiy
    • Lenin factory #69 senior engineer D.P. Gimein
    • Experimental proving grounds senior engineer, military engineer 3rd class B.A. Ivanov

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Thick Skin of German Beasts

German Tiger, Panther, and King Tiger tanks are some of the best known vehicles in the history of tank building and still occupy the minds of armoured vehicle enthusiasts. Their enormous size, thick armour, and long powerful weapons created a reputation of all-destroying and nearly invulnerable tanks. However, if everything is more or less clear with their size and armament, then the issue of armour is much more difficult. This is the first in a cycle dedicated to the creation of armour for the Tiger Ausf.H1, Panther of all variants, and the Tiger Ausf.B, their assembly, and trials of the armour in the USSR, USA, and Great Britain. To start, let us talk about rolled armour that the hulls and turrets of Tigers and Panthers were composed of almost fully.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Ersatz AP

"To the commander of the 89th Artillery Regiment

To commanders of artillery of rifle regiments

Combat at the Bryansk Front showed that 76 mm shrapnel rounds set to impact fuse successfully penetrate enemy small and medium tanks. Based on this, the Deputy Commander of the South Western Front, Lieutenant General Parsegov and Deputy Commander of the 40th Army, Major General Varentsov, order that:

In future combat with enemy small and medium tanks fire shrapnel rounds with the fuse set to impact. Report on the results to me immediately.

Deliver this order to all personnel of the regiment and its units.

Chief of Artillery, Colonel Gritsenko
62nd Rifle Division Chief of Artillery Staff, Major Usik"

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

KV-3 Delays

"June 2nd, 1941
To the People's Commissar of Heavy Machinebuilding comrade Yefremov
To the Chairman of the Committee of Defense, Marshal of the Soviet Union comrade Voroshilov
To the Chief of the Main Auto-Armour Directorate of the Red Army, General Fedorenko

In accordance with government decrees #525-234s issued on May 13th, 1941, 548-232s on March 15th, 1941, 827-347s on April 7th, 1941, and 1217-503s on May 5th, 1941, the Kirov factory was required to:
  1. Present a prototype of the KV-3 tank for trials on by May 25th.
  2. Produce KV tanks with applique armour by June 1st.
  3. Begin production of the KV tank with a flamethrower in July.
In order to achieve this, the Kirov factory must receive:
  1. The hull and turret of the experimental KV-3 tank from the Izhora factory by May 20th.
  2. A set of experimental KV-1 and KV-2 turrets with applique armour from the same by May 1st.
  3. A ZIS-6 system from factory #92 by May 25th.
  4. Blueprints of a flamethrower mount from factory #174 by June 1st.
None of the aforementioned components and blueprints of the flamethrower mount have been received at the Kirov factory. The deadlines for delivery of a flamethrower for the KV-3 vehicle are not known.

I ask you to instruct the necessary People's Commissariats to expedite the delivery of the aforementioned components to the Kirov factory, as the deadlines set by the government are passed and any delay creates a threat to the mass production of the KV-3 tank starting with August of 1941.

Factory director Zaltsman."

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

76 mm HEAT

Main Artillery Directorate
Artillery Committee

January 12th, 1944

To commanders of artillery of Fronts and Armies:

RE: using 76 mm armour burning (HEAT) ammunition

Armour burning (HEAT) ammunition (index BP-353A) that has been developed for the 76 mm model 1927 regimental gun by the GAU has been supplied since October of 1942.

Monday, 3 February 2020

Lend Lease Review

"Report of the 92nd Tank Brigade on the use of American M3 medium and M3 light tanks.
  1. Advantages, from a tactical point of view.
    1. High density of fire.
    2. Good observation (a commander's cupola is present).
    3. The light tank is very mobile.
    4. The engines are quite while driving.
    5. The sights and ballistics of the 75 mm and 37 mm guns are good.
    6. The crews on the M3s and M3l are well placed.